26 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY FEBRUARY 22-28, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com ARTS Not many people, including professional writers, are considered for publication in the New York Times. But two students and a teacher from Alisal High School in east Salinas made the august paper’s pages. The Times has been running its Learning Network and Student Contest Calendar for the last 25 years. The contests are called challenges—in 2022, the theme was “Coming of Age,” for 2023 the prompt was “What High School Is Like in 2023.” The challenges are open to teachers and teens alike, and allow multimedia submissions. Some students and teachers from Alisal High School decided to try. For Danna Ramirez, 16, the opportunity was introduced by her English teacher. The original motivation was a good grade, because the challenge offered some additional points for students. Ramirez was familiar with the Times brand because this same teacher brought the paper to the classroom each week and picked an article for students to analyze. Also, Ramirez is very fond of Wordle, a word game run by the paper. “I enjoy writing, but taking photos and drawing was a nice break from academics,” she says about her multimedia project. It mixes photos and drawings of important people, such as Ramirez and her boyfriend, and places. “Last year in high school was a bad experience,” she says. “But this year it got better. Also, when I was writing, I had a great week.” A part of her project was also a short essay, published in the Times. (Read the stories on p. 14 of this edition of the Weekly.) In addition to a serious interest in writing, Ramirez loves biology. She is interested in the STEM program and plans to become a marine biologist. For AHS teacher Veronica Dorantes-Pulido, it started with an email passed along to her by a journalism teacher. She was always interested in creative writing and once she saw the description, she challenged herself to “write something.” Just like Ramirez, Dorantes-Pulido has been keeping a journal and was always “big” on poetry. She wrote about the relation between personal life and school. “I didn’t think we had a chance,” she says, adding that when she saw a congratulatory email, she thought it was spam. A couple of months later another AHS student, Nicole, 15, won in a “Tiny Memoir Contest for Students” for writing a 100-word journal entry. For more details, visit nytimes.com/section/learning. DANIEL DREIFUSS Best of Times Alisal High School students—and a teacher—are picked for publication in the New York Times. By Agata Pop˛eda Alisal High School teacher Veronica Dorantes-Pulido is one of three from the school— the other two are students—selected for print from a national newspaper challenge. Cornucopia Community Market offers quality nutritious and environmentally safe products, free of artificial additives and preservatives. Curated Food From the heart Your Local Health Food Store Open MOn-Fri 9aM-7pM Sat & Sun 10aM-6pM 831-625-1454 26135 Carmel Rancho Blvd, Carmel (at the mouth of Carmel Valley) • Natural, Organic Produce • Fresh Bakery and Deli • Olive Oil/Vinegar/ Local Honey • Wine, Beer, Juice, Coffee and Tea • Fresh, Organic Dairy Products • Healthy Snacks • Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements • All Natural Bath and Body Products • Gifts and Gift Basket Ideas